A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Apr 23, 2010
01:38 PM

An Inspired Pairing

An Inspired Pairing

I said it two years ago and I’ll say it again: Design MMoCA is one of Madison’s best events.

Hosted biannually by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the event celebrates the intersection of art and interior design. This year, sixteen regional interior designers and architects each created a room inspired by a work of art from the museum’s permanent collection.

Last night’s Opening Gala offered the first glimpse of the showcase. There’s always such a fun energy at this party, with Madisonians dressed up, sipping champagne, mingling and discussing design.

Walking from room to room, I was amazed not only at the diversity of art the designers chose as inspiration, but also the myriad directions they took their spaces. Every vignette offered fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about planning an interior.

Ideas abounded in a living room designed by Fontaine (pictured left). From the vivid green walls to the layered rugs to the sparkling chandelier, there was so much to explore. The visual feast also included smart white chairs, plus a table and stools made from pieces of wood. And the details were fun to notice, too. A stack of New York Times style magazines sat underneath a trio of fish images by Wisconsin photographer Janica Yoder.

More streamlined but equally as eye-catching was a bar by Karen Claffey-Koller, inspired by a lithograph of a watermelon by Rufino Tamayo. I overheard several attendees describe the room as sexy, with its sleek and reflective black countertop and hot pink chairs. It was an exciting nighttime space balanced by equal amounts of masculine and feminine.

Stunning in its simplicity was the dining room (pictured right) created by Aga Artka Interior Design. Starting with Robert Motherwell’s black and white lithograph, the firm outfitted the space with a wood table, beautiful wood sphere and cut-paper wall hangings. On the edge of the room stood an old-fashioned bicycle, its metal basket filled with vegetables, fruit, cheese and bread.

Driftmier Design expertly combined a contemporary mixed media work by Madison artist TL Solein with a sumptuous, natural-edged wood table in its dining room; a roughness and organic feel tied the two elements together. Across the gallery, Zander’s Interiors played with texture in the wood furniture, rattan chairs and neutral-toned rug of its living room. The natural hues made the colorful and figurative Romare Bearden collage pop.

JG Development took a different route with its design, inspired by an atmospheric work by Peter Presnail. Its writer’s retreat (pictured left) enveloped visitors in warmth, from the patterned rug thrown over a wide-plank wood floor to the rich orange hue of the wall.

Similarly inviting was a contemplative study by Linville Architects. The room’s wood-bead curtains, dark leather furniture and Tiki accents allowed the artwork—a colorful oil pastel by the late Madison artist Simon Sparrow—be the star. 

Now, keep in mind this account doesn’t represent even half of the rooms on display at Design MMoCA! Needless to say, there’s lots more to see.

If you get tired from room-hopping, take a rest in the Reading Lounge (pictured right) furnished by Iconi Interiors. It’s a delightful space with chalkboard walls and even a rug covered in quotes. Century House also designed a lounge in the museum lobby.

Wherever your preferences in art and design lie, check out this event and let yourself be surprised by what inspires you.

Design MMoCA runs today through May 2. Hours are 12–8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Saturdays, 12–5 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Admission is $12, with proceeds benefiting the museum’s free-admission policy and its exhibitions and education programs. For more information, call 257.0158 or visit mmoca.org.

Photos courtesy of Amy Lynn Schereck Photography. Find more photos of Design MMoCA here.

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About This Blog

As managing editor at Madison Magazine, I'm also an unabashed arts enthusiast. Paintings, plays, music, movies—I'm intrigued by all forms of creative expression. I enjoy talking with artists and sharing their insights, challenges, inspirations and latest endeavors. Check in regularly for details on events, previews and reviews, artist interviews and more! 

– Katie Vaughn
Follow Katie on Twitter @katiemv

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